The Nobility, Part II

NobilityIIThere are a few other instructors of note that I have seen since getting in to this realm. As an aside, the notable ones are male. That’s not because the female instructors aren’t worthy of note – indeed, they are just as professional and talented as their male counterparts. I personally saw one of the ladies perform a high-energy lindy-hop routine after recently spraining her ankle.  No, it’s because there are just more male instructors than there are female. From what I have seen, the primary demographic that this sort of business attracts is older, middle-class women who have watched a lot of a-certain-dancing-reality-show-featuring-stars, followed by engaged couples who are learning a routine for their wedding dance. A male instructor can take on all these students: single female and couples of any sort. Female instructors can teach couples, but it’s not recommended for them to teach single women. Single men do come in looking for lessons, but it is much rarer. That’s why there are twice as many male instructors at our studio. And at the other lands in the kingdom, the Lords also outnumber the Ladies as well.

The first outside instructor we came into contact with was Tall Steven. He came to our studio one Friday night many months ago to do a performance with one of the ladies. Easily spotted out on the dance floor, he is fairly tall (if you hadn’t guessed). This man, though not Hispanic himself, has an incredible grasp of Latin dance technique. One time, during a Samba group number that they were teaching at the late-night dance, he and Sir Steven were both standing in front of the class by the mirror. When they both started doing the Cuban rock with their hips, I swear I saw a gravitational singularity forming in between them because of the power of their hip motions, and I feared for my life a little.

Tall Steven is a great guy though. From what the female subjects I know have TallSteventold me, he is a bit intimidating to dance with (though they say that about most of the male instructors), but he is very polite and kind. However, I have been warned that he is a ruthless competitor. Sir Steven told me that if I ever got stuck next to him during a competition heat, and I was too close, he would just bowl me over to continue his dance. That just shows you that you can never let your guard down in this world.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to tell you about Lord Bradley.

This man rules over the Great Dance Hall, which would seat him squarely underneath the royalty. For good reason, too. Let me tell you what I have personally witnessed – the last dance show that the realm put on, Lord Bradley personally danced his way through over a third of the acts. So not only was he dancing in front of people with a large number of his students for hours, but he did it without breaks, since he took the time between each of his dances to change costumes. All without getting the routines mixed up, and after having done almost the same number of dances in the morning during the rehearsal. That is what made him the leader at the Great Dance Hall.

It is rumored that his days are often spent like this, pushing his body to such limits to excel in his craft. As he tires, and heads home for the evening, he lays himself down on a bed made of all the young maidens hoping to be selected to be female instructors in the kingdom. Since he rules over the main portion of the Dance Kingdom, he has power to choose whom he wants at his side to lead the subjects. So, the lasses stay close at hand for him, practicing their own dances while he is working, and soothing him to sleep every night, in hopes that by assisting him he will move them up from the rank of mattress-girl to blanket-girl, and then to pillow-girl, and finally they are allowed to graduate to be a dancer under his charge.
BradleySo there’s that! That concludes all the major figures in the Dance Kingdom that I think you should be aware of right now. Along the way, we will meet other students, and practice our skills, and maybe someday be decent dancers ourselves. So join me, and let’s see what happens in this crazy world!

The Nobility, Part I

Our own quest to learn to dance is based out of the Land of the Loft, which is the closest studio to where we live. It has much better lighting than the usual dungeon that people quest in, which makes for a more pleasant learning environment. The studio is the home of three of the nobles, the ones I promised I would tell you about yesterday. These individuals are: Lord Fabulous, the man in charge; Sir Steven as his head instructor; and Lady Q as the female lead.

Lord Fabulous is the most recent addition to our troupe. He originally hails from the Great Dance Hall by the Lake, and still goes back there every-other week to maintain a relationship with some of the subjects he formerly worked with. Some time back he became ruler of our area, through some kind of dealings that involved either promotion or monetary exchange with the King, I’m not quite sure which. Now he rules over the roost with a glittery fist, welcoming almost all the new students, encouraging people to participate in the events or the kingdom, as well as taking on his own set of people to teach throughout the day. Currently, he is often seen in the company of his prize pupil Flexy, whom he uses as a demonstration prop and a gossip buddy. I often wondered how Flexy knew so much about the other students, until she confessed one day that Lord Fabulous told her everything.

LordFabulousThere is an air of mystery that surrounds this young lord. Rumors fly about, speaking tales of how he once danced professionally for Celine Dion, or he owns a few nightclubs in greater Charlotte, or he was 40 years old (we found out later that he is actually younger than we are). Whatever the truth may be about this elusive figure, I don’t think I’ll ever know.

The second instructor whom we met after joining the studio was the harsh Mistress. Hailing from the northern lands overseas, she was very intent on teaching perfection for every move. So much so that her dance style was technical and functional, but sometimes… not beautiful. She did not stay long, and was replaced by Lady Q.

LadyQThis girl is what most boys dream about when they want to start dancing: tiny, flexible, sweet, good looking, and talented. She also has this almost magical ability to make everyone feel like they are doing awesome at everything they do with her. As expected with that kind of power, Lady Q is the one who taught all the fitness classes that were offered at the studio. That is, until Lord Fabulous arrived. He now takes on some of those classes for her, since he taught them while at the Great Dance Hall by the Lake. One other noteworthy thing that Lady Q told everyone during a class once was that she hasn’t really had feeling in her big toes for years, due to wearing the high-heeled shoes for dancing all the time.

But the first instructor that we met when we decided to start this journey was Sir Steven. Sir Steven, as I see it, is really the embodiment of dance. This man is younger than us, we have calculated, but seems to have this old soul – preferring a more classical style of music more like rock opera to the popular new tunes that are played by Lord Fabulous and Lady Q. He seems to know so much about dancing and dance technique, and though he is Caucasian, his hips can wield this Latin rhythm in a style that would make Ricky Martin do a double take. Sir Steven was the lord of the Land of the Loft before Lord Fabulous came into the picture. He is also our personal instructor, so I’m sure he will come up a lot.

SirSteven

So those are the three nobles that we know the best, the three that will probably come up the most. There are a few other notable nobles in the land, people we have seen at the great gatherings that are hosted in the kingdom or have heard about while talking with our nobles. I will tell you about a few of them next time.

The Royalty

When one thinks about a kingdom, probably the first thing that people associate with it would be a monarchy. Well, lucky for you the Dance Kingdom has one. The ruler is a King, who watches over his realm from a position of strength and financial fortitude. He is well versed in the various business acumen that is required of a successful leader, allowing him to keep the lands safe and strong without taxing the constituents into hardship. It has also been shown that he is not afraid to get his hands dirty, lovingly building the wooden floors that these dance halls require, and painting rich colors onto the walls. You might think of these halls like the grand halls of a castle, but they have more windows for natural lighting, and there are no tapestries hanging on the walls to keep them warm (you can also thank modern heating and cooling for that).

There was an event that we attended hosted at the Great Dance Hall by the Lake. During the event, the people lauded the King. It seems he had put in many an overnight stay at the hall, doing the remodeling and updating that the hall needed. The Princess made sure to point out to all the subjects that he had done all the woodworking by hand, so that they might appropriately gaze upon it in awe and wonder. While he is quite capable of dancing the night away like all the nobility in the kingdom, the King can often be seen at parties standing off to the side, watching over his subjects and maintaining peace and stability.

King

The Dance Kingdom, much like the Mushroom Kingdom or the Candy Kingdom, has a Princess. I believe that of all things, she is the primary reason that the Dance Kingdom even exists. She is wife of the King, which one would think would elevate her to a queen, but she prefers to be known as the Princess. Obviously she is a professional dancer by trade; having won awards and esteems, and is well known in the community for various outreach programs. She is easy to spot at all the dance events I have attended, wearing quite dramatic dresses that set her apart from the others on the dance floor, and using her vast training to show off those outfits as only a professional dancer would be able.

As royalty though, the Princess is far from intimidating. I have seen her mingle casually with the crowds of people who are a part of her kingdom, and stop to dance with newcomers whom I know at the time hadn’t taken more than a handful of lessons. She is approachable and energetic, often clapping the loudest in celebration of her subjects’ performance. Truly a Princess loved by all who meet her.

Princess

Assisting the King and Princess in ruling the kingdom is their hand-picked nobility. They are the instructors, who spend their days toiling with the subjects, training them in the mystic arts of ballroom dancing for any occasion. Often the first people that new immigrants to the land meet, the lords, ladies and knights of the kingdom embody the skills that they impart to others, barely even taking time out during the day to do menial tasks like eating. I’ve met several of the noble class, and there are a few you will need to know about so that things make sense. We’ll go over three of them tomorrow…

Adventures In The Dance Kingdom

So… somehow, in my 29th year of life I stumbled into the crazy world that is ballroom dancing. Since then, I became a member of a studio near where I live in the realm of Charlotte, NC, and started working on learning to compete in this sport with the help of a friend I made at the studio, whom I will refer to as Sparkledancer. The world of ballroom dancing is a strange place, and our studio and its related sister studios have a fascinating dynamic that includes royalty, feudal lords and ladies, mystic dance sages, elegant events, and wily jesters. After telling stories about what I’ve been doing to people (who always seem fascinated by this world of dance), I have decided to chronicle the tales of my adventures in dancing. It will give me a chance to look back on them later and laugh.

I’m hoping to update this once a week, but over the next few days I will have to write up the basics and introduce the characters that live in this world, otherwise future stories won’t make any sense. Everything I will be writing here will be entirely, 100%, totally true… as far as I know. There is a lot of mystery in the world of ballroom dancing in the Dance Kingdom, but I have committed to exploring this world, joining as an outsider and being accepted into the fold, meeting its people, and then introducing them to the wide world of the Internet for all to learn about.

Here we go…
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